Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), in its latest report, has stated that model facilities for management of municipal solid waste in Chandigarh has been marred by delays.
Under a scheme implemented by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) of the ministry of environment and forests, Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee (CPCC) was provided funds for constructing a total of 80 Sahaj Safai Kendras, of which only 35 have been constructed.
The CPCB released `1.58 crore in three equal instalments of `52.56 lakh in April 2003; April 2004; and April 2007 under phase 1 of the project and `2.60 crore in two equal instalments of `1.30 crore in April 2007 and September 2008 under Phase 2.
The phase 1 of the project was originally scheduled to be completed by October 2004, but was marred by delays. The first phase was extended from time to time up to March 2007. Similarly, phase 2 of the project was started in April 2007, with April 2008 as deadline for its completion. The report noted that the second phase was also not completed on time and was continued thereafter without formal extension.
The report maintained that progress of the project was last discussed by the Chandigarh municipal corporation (MC) in January 2008 and subsequently, the CPCB conducted on-site inspection of the facility in March 2012. The board found that though landfill site was developed, waste dumping was yet to be commenced. Unspent balance of `14.41 lakh was also not refunded by the CPCC as of July 2014.
The CPCB stated in July 2014 that it had reviewed the project in June 2013 and May 2014 and asked the CPCC to prepare documentation on the project and that CPCC had agreed to return the unspent amount.
IRREGULAR RETENTION OF CONVERSION FEE BY CHB
Omission on part of Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) resulted in irregular retention of `5.60 crore for more than four financial years and loss revenue in tune of `1.80 crore due to non- investment of funds.
The administration had introduced the Chandigarh conversion of land use of industrial sites into commercial activity/ services in Industrial Area, Phases 1 and 2, scheme in September 2005 for two years, which was later extended for another six months till March 2008. Initially, the CHB was made the nodal agency for execution of the scheme but later, the responsibility of implementation of the scheme was given to the estate office.
As per the scheme, the conversion fees received from applicants for conversion of land use were to be kept in a separate account and funds accumulated were not to be counted as income of the agency. The report stated that the agency collected `166.46 crore as conversion fee up to June 13, 2008. The CHB deposited `118 crore in the government treasury and transferred a further amount of `43.26 crore to the UT estate office.
Scrutiny of the records revealed that the CHB kept conversion fee during 2006-8 in various banks in shapes of fix deposits on which it earned interest to the tune of `5.60 crore up to July 2008. The interest earned was shown as payable in the balance sheet till March 2013. The amount earned was neither transferred to government nor to the estate office.
On being pointed out, the CHB replied that the UT finance secretary was informed that the interest amount was retained by CHB because it was subjected to outcome of assessment cases pending before income tax department.
Dismissing the reply, the audit stated the accumulated funds of conversion fees were not to be counted as income and were meant for specified uses under the rules approved by government of India.